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M115 bomb

m115 bombas, m115 bombuj
The M115 anti-crop bomb, also known as the feather bomb or the E73 bomb,1 was a US biological cluster bomb designed to deliver wheat stem rust


  • 1 History
  • 2 Specifications
  • 3 Tests involving the M115
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References


Mass production of the M115 bomb began in 19532 The weapon was a modified M16A1 cluster bomb, which was normally used to distribute airborne leaflet propaganda or fragmentation weapons3 The US Air Force first pointed out the need for an anti-crop weapon in September 1947 In October 1950 the Air Force began procuring 4,800 M115 bombs1 By 1954, with the biological agents causing wheat and rye rust standardized in laboratory culture, the US Air Force prepared to transfer the agent to some 4,800 of the M115s4 The deployment of the M115 represented the United States' first, though limited, anti-crop biological warfare BW capability4 Though the weapon was tested at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland, it was never used in combat5


The M115 was a 500-pound 227 kg bomb that was converted from a leaflet bomb and to be used to deliver wheat stem rust26 Wheat stem rust culture consisted of a dry particulate matter which was adhered to a light-weight vector, usually feathers Because of its method of dissemination, the bomb was commonly referred to as the "feather bomb"2 The feathers would fall over a wide area when released5 The M115 was shown to establish 100,000 foci of infection over a 50-square-mile 130 km2 area4

Tests involving the M115edit

According to a 1950 military report the M115 was tested in an area 11 miles 18 km long and 15 miles 24 km wide The area consisted of 75 acres 30,000 m2 plots sown with the Overland variety of oats, susceptible to the test agent, Puccinia graminis avenae, but not to other strains of cereal rust3 The test drops of the M115 showed that, from an altitude of 4,000 feet 1,200 m, feathers could be spread over an area of 12 square miles 31 km2 Three M115 feather bombs were dropped 1 mile 16 km upwind from the target area, which was then monitored for any changes Estimates showed about a 30% reduction in yield from the infected area3

See alsoedit

  • E77 balloon bomb
  • M33 cluster bomb


  1. ^ a b Wheelis, Mark, et al Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons Since 1945, Google Books, Harvard University Press, 2006, pp 217-18, ISBN 0674016998
  2. ^ a b c Smart, Jeffery K Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare: Chapter 2 - History of Chemical and Biological Warfare: An American Perspective, PDF: p 51, Borden Institute, Textbooks of Military Medicine, PDF via Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, accessed November 16, 2008
  3. ^ a b c Russell, Alan and Vogler, John The International Politics of Biotechnology: Investigating Global Futures, Google Books, Manchester University Press, 2000, pp 173-74, ISBN 0719058686
  4. ^ a b c Whitby, Simon M Biological Warfare Against Crops, Google Books, Macmillan, 2002, pp 156-57, ISBN 0333920856
  5. ^ Endicott, Stephen and Hagerman, Edward "United States Biological Warfare during the Korean War: rhetoric and reality" York University, June 2002, accessed November 16, 2008

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M115 bomb

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